by Ronn Wood
(posted October 31, 2020
The day I met Sean Connery
Sean Connery, the greatest ‘James Bond’ actor, dies at age 90
Scottish movie legend Sean Connery, who shot to international stardom as the suave, sexy and sophisticated British agent James Bond and went on to grace the silver screen for four decades, died October 31, 2020.
I had heard about it for weeks. It was coming soon, and they said it would make an unheard of seventy-five million dollars. I decided I wanted to be a part of it. I asked my friend, Everett, and he said he knew all about it and could make it happen. So, I was all set. Everett picked me up at 7 PM and we rode Downtown to 9th and Polk. There was a girl behind the glass of a small room who said it would be 75 cents. Everett and I gave her our three quarters each and made our way into an elaborate foyer which had a candy counter and popcorn machine on one side. A curving stairway was on the other side which had a sign, “CLOSED”. I followed Everett into the hallway where he stopped and pulled back the curtains of a doorway. He ushered me inside where I found myself in a huge room with a grand chandelier glowing dimly high above. There must have been a thousand seats with hundreds of people. The floor slanted down toward the front where there was a gigantic screen. The sound coming from the huge images was unlike anything else I had ever heard. I was in awe. I had never been inside a movie theater before.
On the screen was a man on a roof shooting at some people on the ground. He fired in one direction and then the other. Another man in a white coat ran out of the building waving his arms while shouting, “Stop firing you idiots! He’s got you all shooting at each other!” The man on the roof slipped and dropped his gun which slid away. Everett and I found our way down to the 10th row and took seats in the middle of the theater. We had arrived in the middle of the movie! Everett told me that’s the way to do it because you get to see it twice for one price. (That never happened again!)
I didn’t know it at the time but the man on the roof was James Bond, Agent 007 of Her Majesty’s Secret Service and the man in the white coat was Largo, the bad guy. We had come to see my very first movie, THUNDERBALL. They said it would make seventy-five million dollars at the box office. After watching the film one and a half times I learned that James Bond was played by Sean Connery. To my surprise there was no character in the movie actually named “Thunderball”. We were at the beautiful Paramount Theater in Downtown Amarillo. I saw THUNDERBALL 3 more times during the next two weeks. In a short time I convinced Everett that we should always go to the beginning of all movies.
The day I met Sean Connery was January 20, 1966, eleven days before my 18th birthday.
Thank you George, Roger, Timothy, Pierce, and Daniel but Sean will always and forever be the best James Bond.
(posted August 3, 2020
Brimley died Saturday August 1. He was 85.
He was a well-known actor in many movies including THE THING (1982), COCOON
(1985), COCOON: THE RETURN (1988), and THE FIRM (1993).
Nazworth and I had dinner with him at K-Bob’s Steakhouse in Childress
September 5, 1995.
He was driving from Dallas to Amarillo to star in a dinner theater play. Bill and I were on the way to Dallas.
Returning from the salad bar I saw him sitting alone at a table and told Bill, “That looks like Wilford Brimley.”
Bill was not the kind of person who would just take a look and leave it at that. He walked over to Wilford,
introduced himself and they had a little chat. Then Wilford motioned for me to come over to the table.
We had steaks and discussed his movies. He was quite pleased when I told him he was really too young for the role he played in the
movies. (He was only 49 while the other major stars were in their 70’s)
thanked us for noticing him and the pleasant dinner chat and we went on our
Bill Nazworth died from cancer June 7, 2012 in Honolulu.
(posted June 11, 2020
Read the whole story here: https://news.radio-online.com/cgi-bin/rol.exe/headline_id=n38880?fbclid=IwAR05nMRBuAY_r3shWuf_f4Yze5tU_thFbjIAUKKo1t_1EtmopgYt4r4ZAH8
Ron Chase cues up the first record at the first AmaChron dance April 3, 1970:
(posted September 9, 2018)
Reel-to-Reel Console for Unit I was Crate 23.
was built in 1984 and retired in 2004.
225 pounds it was one of the heavier crates in Unit I.
carried the (1975) Teac 3300S reel-to-reel deck and a (1971) Realistic 909.
than 100 songs, jingles, and special effects were played from these decks.
Crate was in use at more than 2,000 dances during the 30 years with Unit I.
retirement in 2004 Crate 23 sat outdoors adjacent to Two
plan was to install #23 (with the no longer functioning tape machines
place) into the ChronoMuseum
–Mobile Sound & Light Section.
deterioration of the crate due to weather was extreme.
BOYS DOWNTOWN ordered the console scrapped September 5, 2018.
small portion of Crate 23 was salvaged for future use.
(posted September 8, 2018)
and Sherri Edmondson sitting on the Front Porch in time:
MORE TO COME
(posted August 20, 2018)
(posted June 1, 2018)
The TANDY 1000 computer was retired
from the Unit I console May 15, 2018. It was probably the last functioning T
1000 in the world which served a purpose. The computer listed song requests at
dances for 16 years. It was donated by Rodney Weaver in 2002. It is a 1989 model
costing about $1,100.
(posted April 5, 2018)
If you left this note at the Main Entrance to ONE AMACHRON CENTER please contact one of The BOYS DOWNTOWN immediately
(posted February 14, 2018)
February 13, 2018 was the 20th birthday of the HOLLYWOOD 16 movie theater in Amarillo. It was built as a STARPLEX Theater but was sold to Cinemark after one week.
So, last night I asked the staff, “How many of you were here for the grand opening?” Five of the six hadn’t even been born yet and the assistant manager was only 5 at the time.
(posted April 27, 2017)
Gaston Williams in BRONZE at Amarillo's Town Square Village:
grandsons, Noah and Seth, had a bronze life-size statue made of him as he looked
about age 35. They kept it totally secret from everyone until the unveiling
April 27 at 5:30 PM. The statue stands in the median of Town Square Blvd at the
entryway to the retail / apartment area. Gaston can see it from his 5th floor
condo. The St. Louis company which created the statue sent two “artists” to
secretly observe Gaston in his everyday life a three months ago (you cannot make
a 3D sculpture from a photo). The plaque in front of the statue reads, “Anything
is possible with a strong foundation”.
(Gaston got his start digging thousands of foundations during the housing boom
of the ‘50s) I suggested to them that in 15 or 20 years there may be a bronze
statue of Perry Williams at the other end of Town Square Blvd. [Gaston
is Perry's father] The Williams Family is associated with the AmaChron Empire.
From L to R: Joyce sitting, Seth, Shylan, Gaston, bronze Gaston, Perry, Fanchun, Vicky, Noah
TOWN SQUARE VILLAGE
(posted December 30, 2016)
The MANNHEIM STEAMROLLER Concert at the Amarillo Civic Center December 27
What a fantastic concert!
I'm even ranking it above The Moody Blues concert (with Amarillo Symphony) a few
years ago. There was a video with every selection on a huge LED screen behind
the orchestra. I did not expect that. Their light slow was magnificent and
included effects which filled the whole auditorium with dancing arrays. Lots and
lots of Jim Elliott lights. High quality IMAX quality sound shook us in our
seats. They got two standing ovations.
The best Christmas song ever recorded is "Deck The Halls" -Mannheim Steamroller (1984) I used to start all the Christmas dances with it
They say you can judge how good a group is by how much their live performance sounds like the studio recordings. These people sounded EXACTLY like the originals I've been playing for years.
I stood in line after the
concert to have the major performers sign my program. I believe they were
impressed when I explained that I bought my first Mannheim Steamroller album
October 1, 1975. A couple of them hadn't even been born at the time.
The first time I was ever in
the Amarillo Civic Center Auditorium was December 4, 1969 to see Arthur Fiedler conduct
the Denver Symphony Orchestra. Bill Snead got the tickets. They played "Hey
Jude" and then "Yesterday" at the end of the concert. No one
these days knows who Arthur was.
Cory Doyal took this photo with
his phone before the show:
(posted June 5, 2016)
Craig Davis, ACM-36 and wife to be, Laurie, visited Amarillo's Old Route 66 while on a trip to the city for his birthday and engagement announcement. They live in the Dallas area.
(posted January 20, 2016)
I saw my first movie January 20, 1966 at the Paramount Theater in Downtown Amarillo. It was THUNDERBALL, the fourth Bond movie. In the next couple of years I was able to see the previous three 007 movies, all in theaters, because in that time before videotape and DVDs movies were brought back for another run in theaters. The Bond movies were shown in double features so I saw DR NO and GOLDFINGER October 7, 1966. FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE was paired with THUNDERBALL which I saw at the Palace Theater in Dallas October 12, 1968.
January 20 is known in the AmaChron world as MOVIE DAY. On the 50th anniversary of MOVIE DAY I went to see STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS for the 7th time at the Regal United Artist 14 IMAX Theater in Amarillo. I have seen 6,393 movies in the past 50 years. A dim bulb of a friend commented, "Wow, imagine what you could do with all the money you spent on movies...?" Well, at today's prices I could see a couple of thousand more.
(posted December 31, 2015)
Chronmas 2015 was celebrated at DYER'S BBQ Saturday December 26
STANDING: Renée Graham, Cory Doyal, Craig Davis, Stephen Davis, David Johnson SITTING: Karen Touchon, RK, "Cotton" Vicki Keith <> photo by RW
(posted June 8, 2015)
CRAIG DAY 2015 was celebrated June 6 at Dyer's BBQ
Renée at Dyers's serves Craig complimentary blackberry cobbler for his birthday.
And there was Strawberry Cream birthday cake.
( posted April 6 2015)
A BIG TEXAN Event April 5, 2015
In attendance (from L to R) were "Cotton" Vicki, Dagmar Van Camp, Blanca Schaffer, Blair Schaffer,
Brad Van Camp, Betty Davis, Craig Davis, RK, Vicky Harris, and David Johnson. Photo by RW.
(posted December 21, 2015) by RONN WOOD
Amarillo native Kevin Fowler, R. Lee Ermey, and Daren Fleming who was an AmaChron Light Man in 1987
team up at the Armed Forces Bowl at TCU in 2015:
Greenspoon died from cancer Wednesday March 11, 2015 at age 67.
(posted March 12, 2015) by RONN WOOD
was a stagehand (IATSE Local 469 Amarillo).
It was April 25, 1974, the night of a THREE DOG NIGHT concert in the Amarillo Civic Center Coliseum.
It was only my second time to run a spotlight so I became a bit apprehensive when the show's lighting director called on the headphones to tell me,
"Okay spot 3 you OPEN the show, I want a nice, tight light on Jimmy when we start."
"WHO'S JIMMY?" I inquired!??
"THE GUY ON THE KEYBOARDS!" came the disbelieving reply, "GET READY HERE WE GO...."
I turned my mighty SUPER TROOPER in the direction of "Jimmy" and moved the iris lever to the position I hoped would make that 'nice tight' spot on him.
The lights in the coliseum went dark and the light man said, "Spot 3 frame 4, standby."
An eternity passed as I waited wondering what the eight thousand people in here were going to do if my light came on in the wrong place or too wide.
As I heard the first note from the keyboard the light man called, "Spot 3 - CUE 1 GO."
I held my breath as I opened the aperture and the deep blue beam from my spot illuminated Jimmy with a nice, tight circle of light from his head to the top of the keyboards. To the audience it seemed that he appeared out of the darkness. The crowd roared with cheers and applause and the light man called,
"PERFECT, SPOT 3!"
". . .spots 1, 2, and 4 standby. . ."
And the concert had begun. Joy to the world.
Jimmy. . .
March 11, 2015
Fifty years ago today Don Gibbons,
John Overstreet, a couple of other members of the golf team and I hauled the
primitive Chronocontrol from my house to the journalism classroom at
Palo Duro High. It was for "49ers Day", an annual PD celebration of
the pioneers who made the trek across America to the gold fields of California
circa 1849. The trail blazer was Josiah Gregg whose wagon trains cut ruts across
what is now the northwest corner of the Palo Duro HS campus. A monument to him
and the '49er's' now stands on the location near NE 15th and N. Grant St.
Each "home room" hosted an
activity for students from noon to 3:30 PM. The journalism class had decided to
operate a 'discotheque' for dancing. That's where AmaChron came in. I
played the music on the twin turntable set up. (the turntables were very
toy-like since I appropriated them from the tiny record players of the era)
.None the less it was a grand event. Most of the records were brought in by
students since I only collected real music such as The Boston Pops, Hollyridge
Strings, and the like. I was really shocked when Lynn Kentosh asked for the
absolutely awful song "Louie Louie". It turned out to be the biggest
hit of the day. There were lots of Ventures instrumentals (I had all those), a
bunch of Dave Clark Five, some Johnny Rivers, and Sandy Nelson was popular.
Things got even more exciting about 2 PM when someone turned out the lights.
[CD, cassette, 8-track, reel-to-reel,
as mp3 files, and as an mp3 compilation]
roller rink had erroneously made the posters to indicate that "BJ the
DJ" would be there so all the kids called RJ "BJ" all night. Ron
Chase now owns and operates the internationally known RADIO-ONLINE.com website.
Chronmas Event 2014
THE FIRST MOON LANDING (Reposted July 20, 2014 from the AmaChron Summer of '69 LOG)
July 20, 1969 HIGH
@ SC, Ronnie Jones is in the basement playing records >>>12:33 AM Jerry
Young arrives, he wants food. We all go to the Coronado Inn by 12:47 AM. I have
chicken-fried steak, they have burgers. Leave there by 1:40 AM, return to LD.
Jerry leaves. “Jones” goes back to basement to play records. (ChronoControl
is only about 50% complete) 2:02 AM <> (to
this point) 2:33 AM
I go down to basement to work on C-Control. “Jones” plays and plays the
tunes. . .3:03 AM he goes to sleep behind the Dr. Pepper machine. I finish the
C-Control work by 4:00 AM. (it’s hot, turn on bedroom air conditioner) 4:20 AM
12:06 PM the house is shaking because “Jones” is playing the music really
LOUD! I go to breaker box and TURN OFF basement breakers……a short time later
he comes upstairs to see what has happened….figures it out, goes back
downstairs and plays records at a lower volume. 1:20 PM shower, get ready. Jerry
arrives by 2:45 PM. We all go to Lomax’s by 2:51 PM, get food. Go to The Larry
Cox Recording Studio by 3:30 PM, meet Jr. Keith there (he is running the studio
for Larry Cox who has moved to California).
PM APOLLO 11 has lands on the MOON! (Neil
Armstrong, and ‘Buzz’ Aldrin are in the lander, Eagle
I, Michael Collins
is in the command module orbiting above)
the studio a customer arrives to check out recording possibilities. We all leave
by 4:45 PM. Return to SC by 5:00 PM. Turn on the little TV and watch the MOON
LANDING coverage on Channel 10. Walter Cronkite is reporting. 5:44 PM Ronnie
Jones’ mom comes to pick him up and take him to his far away home on
Adirondack Street. I work on ChronoControl, play music, etc. 7:30 PM Jerry
arrives. We go to Lomax’s for burgers. Return to SC by 8:15 PM, Jerry leaves.
I watch more of the MOON LANDING coverage. 9:50 “Mama Lou” calls to tell me
to be sure to watch…I tell her I have the TV on! 9:56
PM Neil Armstrong steps off the lander to become the FIRST MAN TO SET FOOT ON
THE MOON! He
one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”
people on earth are watching this! Neil is a civilian, this is not a military
event! 10:02 PM “Jones” calls, says “Did you see that!?” I assure
him I did. We talk. 10:15
comes down the ladder to set foot on the lunar surface. He says "Beautiful
view, magnificent desolation." 10:20
PM I play “Also
over the phone.
- 1 Sputnik – 0, we won! 10:31 PM I deliver an “I WON” to “Jones” on
the phone, hand up! Hahahahahahaha à
PM work on ChronoControl while Neil and “Buzz” are on the MOON. 11:20 PM
Jerry arrives. We drink a toast to Apollo 11 with a Dr. Pepper from my machine.
more MOON LANDING coverage. Walter Cronkite says it’s great to have good news
to report for a change. . .
M Jerry leaves as I play more MOON music.
(Hot, humid, sunny
day. SW breezes, balmy night)
Dave owes me a pizza!
July 21, 1969
AM BJ calls from Endicott, New York, asks, “Did you see that . . .?”
+ + +
Buzz Aldrin on the moon
December 26, 2013:
1969 - 2013: Now celebrating the 45th CHRONMAS!
Here's what it looked like just 30 years ago, December 26, 1983:
[ ] Sonya Carnes, Nancy's deviled eggs, Zona Long, Pat and Kathy Jansen, Robert Faucett, Rodney Weaver, Jim Elliott, David Johnson, Lisa Chase, Nancy Wills, Konii Dalman, Angel Lewellyn, Bill Nazworth, Melody Smith, Lou Barnes, Ralph and Beth Duke, Stephany Lewellyn, Ronnie and Vicki Keith, Andrea Swift, RW, Ernest and Sue Harbin, Billy Pendergrass, "Uncle" Dave Wilson, Stephen Smith, Shalota, Shelly from Radio Shack, Bill Snead, and Heather Thomas on the calendar [ ]
Michelle Schaffer (& Logan) won BIG cash in the "Name The 1970 - 2010 Medley Songs " contest.
April 4, 2010
-iPhone photo by Blair Schaffer
And now this from Ernest CLICK HERE
1970 - 2010
July 20, 2009 MOON DAY 40 at AmaChron Central <> 11 PM
standing: Tommy, Dakota, Diane, Blair in front: Derek, Colton photo by: RW
Volleyballs are in proxy for the MOON.
Below is a model Lunar Lander on a Pepperoni Pizza at Shakey's July 21, 1969, to notify Dave that we won!
San Diego Comic-Con 2009:
Lisa Chase with Edward James Olmos (Admiral Adama in BATTLESTAR GALACTICA)
and with Michael Hogan (Colonel Tye) Golly, he looks so much younger in person!
WESTERN PLAZA MALL
(posted February 25, 2007)
The area at what is now I-40 and Western Street was a muddy playa lake until late 1966. Construction began on Western Plaza in the fall of that year. The mall opened February 29, 1968. But Montgomery Ward and Woolco had completed their buildings months earlier and held grand openings August 9, 1967. (I was the 6th person through the doors at Woolco) For the benefit of shoppers during construction of the mall at Christmas time '67 a tunnel made of scaffolding and plywood connected Wards and Woolco. The other major anchor was a White and Kirk department store. White and Kirk, a local company, operated a very fine store in downtown Amarillo for decades. In the 70's W&K was purchased by Sakowitz which eventually sold the store to Dunlaps. Dunlaps moved away in the early 2000s. My first job ever was at Radio Shack in the east end of the mall. It was the first Radio Shack store in the region. The store closed July 27, 2002 (I helped the manager shut the sliding doors). A Furr's Cafeteria was in the mall from the beginning and for many years Wards had a small cafeteria of its own. Woolco had its own version, the Red Grill. Furr's closed April 23, 2006 (I was the last customer out the door). General Cinema Corp. of Dallas opened a 1,000 seat theater March 29, 1968 featuring THE GRADUATE. The huge auditorium was divided into two theaters in 1974. The cinema ceased operation in 1991 but a local comedy club took over providing entertainment in one auditorium while showing independent movies in the other until 1993. A 10-screen cinema was rumored for WP but never materialized. The first Hastings store opened with the mall. It was a very tiny store, probably only a tenth the size of current Hastings operations. (Hastings is headquartered in Amarillo and operates from a former Sears building near Sunset Center Mall) Western Plaza had two sets of fountains, a large one near Wards and smaller one near the Woolco side. The center of the mall was a large, bright, open area with a few kiosks such as Orange Julius. The mall had 43 stores at its height. Woolco closed January 15, 1983 (I was there when they turned out the lights for the last time). The Woolco building became a Wilsons store a few months later. Wilsons sold to Service Merchandise a few years later. The Service Merchandise Company went out of business in the late '90s and the building was empty until the Graham Central Station nightclub opened there in 2004. Montgomery Ward went out of business in 2001. That building was never occupied again. A new regional shopping complex, Westgate Mall, opened October 6, 1982 four miles west of WP on I-40. Western Plaza was renovated somewhat in 1983 and held on for a few more years but was ultimately doomed. New owners terminated the leases of the few stores still operating there and by mid 2006. The old mall structure has been razed and a new 10 building complex known as Western Crossing is under construction in its place. The new development will include several stores, office space, restaurants, and possibly a hotel and residential section. I've been told that Radio Shack will open a new store there as soon as they can. I will be at the grand opening.
The construction of Western Plaza Mall 1967:
GRAND OPENING February 29, 1968
Aerial view in 2002
and in 2005:
The Demolition of Western Plaza Mall June 2007
The empty mall
I saw 388 movies here (1968 - 1992)
Cinema Entrance inside the mall (June 20, 2007)
East entrance of the mall
Inside the mall (this was RADIO SHACK)
White & Kirk - Sakowitz - Dunlaps
Western Plaza is gone and has been replaced by Western Crossing featuring Burlington Coat Factory, Pet-Co, Mardel Bookstore, Michaels, Cheddars, Rudy's Bar-B-Que, Starbucks, Olive Garden, Hoagie's Deli, Kalachie Cafe, and more. Three 4-story hotels wise rise on the site also. And we're waiting for RADIO SHACK.
Western Crossing opened in 2008 covering all the old Western Plaza Mall area:
It includes Burlington Coat Factory, Petco, Michaels, several food vendors: an Olive Garden Restaurant,
Cheddars, Rudy's Country Store & BBQ, Hoagies Deli, Lemongrass Sushi & Wok, Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt,
and a sandwich shop. Also, a Murphy Express Fueling Center, a 24 hour Private Emergency Hospital, and 3 hotels:
Staybridge Suites, Cottonwood Suites, and Comfort Suites. An area on the NE corner is available for future development.
Amarillo's forgotten mall, SUNSET CENTER, is still in use:
(though not as a retail center)
A COPIER STORY
(posted January 30, 2006)
THE DEMOLITION of DOWNTOWN RAGES ON:
(posted May 5, 2005)
(posted Friday August 23, 2002:)
[NOTE: Las Vegas has changed significantly since this was written and many of these sites and events may no longer exist]
(posted January 2, 2007)
The spam clutter caused the loss of at least $700.00 income.
DINNER AND A MOVIE
HOUSTON WE HAVE A PROBLEM
(posted August 1, 2006)
This photo of the Mars Rover scientists appeared with the story in a major news magazine a few years ago. I printed the picture, added my comments, and sent it to Coca Cola headquarters in Atlanta. In a short time I received a letter expressing their delight and stating that my submission now adorned one of the bulletin boards at the corporate offices. Enclosed were coupons for a couple of cases of Coke.